‘Laying In’ Our Natural Gas Connection with PG&E

After two failed inspections, we passed our natural gas inspection on Wednesday, 08/18/10, so we could have the PG&E team connect our natural gas line to the main going up Via Sereno.  Today was [another] a big day.  After the natural gas was connected, Bryan ensured the natural gas lines were covered with 6 inches of sand.

Also, the team from Earth Bound Homes completed the chase for our solar AC and DC connections, installed a waterproof membrane at the connection to the gable roof and pony walls, and put Tyvek on the inside gable of two of our three gable roofs.

Laying In Our Natural Gas Connection

The two-person team from PG&E arrived at 8:45 am this morning.  Bill (the welder) and Larry worked safely and quickly to lay in our natural gas connection.  This was an interesting process to watch.

First, Larry did the ‘tail gate planning’, where he identified the closest emergency hospital (Good Samaritan Hospital off Los Gatos Boulevard) and noted the site-specific conditions.  For our project, these conditions included the potential of water below grade and the 15,000 volt underground electric cables within 18 inches of the natural gas main.  Larry documented these conditions on the tail gate board.

Then, they set to work.  All appropriate safety equipment was in place, including a fire extinguisher.  Then, Bill welded the vertical connection onto the live natural gas main.  This was a bit tense for Bryan to watch (yeah, welding a pipe containing natural gas at 57 PSI).  Meanwhile, Larry got the natural gas riser with 1/2 inch connection line and cut it to the approximate length, and they pressure-tested the assembly.

After Bill completed the welding, the connection has to cool before they could continue (approximately 20 minutes).  This allowed time to clean up the area, and place the riser assembly in the trench.

Bill tested the natural gas connection to the gas riser, which was ok.  Then, he cut into the live natural gas line, which allowed gas to flow into the gas riser.  Larry opened the valve slowly, to avoid triggering the emergency shut off valve, and allowed some gas to flow through the line.  This cleared any debris (dirt, sand, etc.) from the line.  Then, Larry closed the valve.

With the connection working, Bill then primed the main line and connection and tested all the joints with soapy water.  Ensuring there were no leaks, Bill wrapped the natural gas line and all metallic connections with the special tape (to avoid corrosion).

After loading up their tools and equipment, Bill and Larry gave Bryan the final instructions on covering the new natural gas line with six inches of sand, and then they left the job site.

It was 10:15 am.

Preparing to Install the Solar Mounts

Since we have a membrane roof on the flat roofs, we have to have all the penetrations completed.  With our 48 solar photovoltaic panels, we must have the mounts for the frames completed and in place as soon as we put down our Tyvek wrap over the flat roof.  This will allow Akeena Solar to install (with us), the brackets for the 32 solar photovoltaic panels (in 4 arrays of 8 panels each) on the upper flat roof.

Also, we need to have the conduits in place for the AC (from the 16 panels with Enphase micro-inverters on each individual panel) and the DC (from the 32 panels on the upper flat roof), all of which go through the SIP roof to the rigid conduit in the concrete wall that will take the electric cables to the East Mechanical room.

We’ve scheduled the installation of the solar mounts by Akeena Solar on the upper flat roof and the conduits going to the SIP roof for Friday.  Thus, the team from Earth Bound Homes has to have the Tyvek and other components in place so Akeena can do their work.

It’s all good.

The two-person team from PG&E just arrived.  Bill and Larry will do the natural gas lay-in to the exposed natural gas main.

The two-person team from PG&E just arrived. Bill and Larry will do the natural gas lay-in to the exposed natural gas main.

Bill starts welding the vertical connection to the natural gas line.  This made Bryan a bit nervous, as welding a live natural gas line with 57 PSI just didnt seem prudent.

Bill starts welding the vertical connection to the natural gas line. This made Bryan a bit nervous, as welding a live natural gas line with 57 PSI just didn't seem prudent.

Bryan, with more courage, took a closer photo of Bill completing the weld to the live natural gas line.

Bryan, with more courage, took a closer photo of Bill completing the weld to the live natural gas line.

Bill and Larry leaving the site at 10:15 am.  It was a quick 90 minutes for them to complete the natural gas lay-in.

Bill and Larry leaving the site at 10:15 am. It was a quick 90 minutes for them to complete the natural gas lay-in.

The completed connection.  Bill was very careful to ensure that all of the nicks in the natural gas line covering were removed and wrapped with new material.  There wont be any corrosion with this connection.

The completed connection. Bill was very careful to ensure that all of the nicks in the natural gas line covering were removed and wrapped with new material. There won't be any corrosion with this connection.

After Bill and Larry left, Bryan ensured the natural gas main and our connection were covered with at least 6 inches of sand.  We hope Izzy will be available in the morning to help backfill and compact the trench to grade.

After Bill and Larry left, Bryan ensured the natural gas main and our connection were covered with at least 6 inches of sand. We hope Izzy will be available in the morning to help backfill and compact the trench to grade.

 

Our solar chase for the conduit from the gable and flat roofs, and to take the AC and DC lines to the East Mechanical room.

Our solar chase for the conduit from the gable and flat roofs, and to take the AC and DC lines to the East Mechanical room.

Our Tyvek covering the South side of the North gable.

Our Tyvek covering the South side of the North gable.

Looking North, at the West side of the East gable.

Looking North, at the West side of the East gable.

Bryan was most proud of the natural gas lay-in today, and took photos from the roof.

Bryan was most proud of the natural gas lay-in today, and took photos from the roof.

The connection to the cistern can be completed now.

The connection to the cistern can be completed now.

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